Saturday, January 17, 2009

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

Fifteen-year-old Evie thinks she's got the perfect life. Her mother is as beautiful and charming as a movie star. Her stepfather, Joe, is home from World War II and is running several successful stores. Her best friend always stands up for her, no matter what. To top it all off, Joe is taking the family on a vacation to Palm Beach! Not long after they arrive in Florida, a handsome young man who served with Joe in the army appears and joins their circle of friends, instantly capturing Evie's heart. The only trouble is that as Evie gets closer to Peter, she begins to realize that her family is not what she thinks it is. When Peter disappears under circumstances that appear to incriminate Evie's parents, Evie must unravel all the secrets and get down to the truth.

This story reads like a 1940's mystery film. Evie mentions Lana Turner and Barbara Stanwyck, and either actress would be a good fit to play a role in this story. The language use is dead on for the period, and Evie's naivete is just about right for a sheltered teenage girl of the 40's. I found myself able to predict most of the story's big points, but I didn't find that to be a drawback, since I was dreading the moment Evie would realize those things. The tension in this story remains tightly wound until the last, and Evie's final decision, while surprising in some ways, makes perfect sense in others.

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